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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, February 28, 2020

Colossians 2:1-5 (L 10)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                    Published: February 28, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

**********************************************************************************************
Welcome to HBS.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:27-29)

If Paul had a Purpose Statement it would resemble the Bible passage above because it answers the question, “Why his ministry existed.”

The words, “Whom we preach” mean Paul’s mission had a focus - Jesus Christ.  Paul’s preaching wasn’t focused inward on himself or on his ability to keep his audience entertained; these are common practices today.  Paul’s ministry was focused on the Person and the finished work of Christ Jesus.

The words, “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom” mean Paul’s mission had a method.  In his preaching he warned, he taught, and he used all wisdom in doing it.  You might say in his preaching he warned the lost sinner, taught Believers, and did it all with wisdom.

The words, “every man” (repeated x3) mean Paul’s mission had an audience – everyone.  Paul preached the mystery to the old and the young, rich and poor, slave and free, Greek or Jew, man or woman, the educated and the uneducated because God’s free gift of grace is meant for everyone.

“…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” means Paul’s ministry had a goal.  It was to present every man perfect, in Christ.  Perfection must be the work of God and not of man.  Man’s work was the law.  Under that perfect work man was an absolute failure:  The law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better hope did” (Hebrews 7:16.)  Did what?  Made something perfect.  What better hope can make a lost imperfect sinner perfect in the sight of God?  Here’s that better hope:

By the which will we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once-forall; and by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified…” (Hebrews 10:10-14).

Paul “labored, striving, according to his (God’s) working, which worketh in me mightily.  In Koine Greek striving means “agonize (like a wrestler in the heat of competition).  Paul struggled as God’s servant among the Gentiles, but he wanted the Colossian saints to know it was not by his own strength but by the power only God can give.  Compare Colossians 1:29 with 1 Corinthians 15:10 below


But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
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Please open your Bible at Colossians 2:1-3.

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you (Colossians), and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The apostle Paul, in Colossians 1, has been talking about the distinctiveness of his great message and ministry among the Gentles over and above that which the Spirit-filled twelve were taught and proclaimed on the day of Pentecost (Galatians 2:1-10).    

In verse 1:24 we learned the ministry which God had called Saul/Paul was a ministry that would involve conflict and suffering (Acts 9:15-16).  In this chapter we will see how our apostle Paul strived and suffered to make the blessed message of the mystery known “to every creature under heaven” and to keep it pure, i.e., untainted.   

For I would that ye knew” (2:1a) – whenever Paul used this phrase it served to highlight or direct the attention of the reader to something of great importance.  Here Paul wanted these Believers to fully understand the “great conflict” he had for the saints at Colosse, Laodicea, and all those he had never met personally face-to-face.

“…what great conflict I have for you (Colossians), and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;” (2:1).    

Contrary to some people’s opinion, Paul was not conflicted, that is, having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent emotions, he suffered “conflict” which means: strife, or contention.  This word refers to the anxious care, the mental conflict, the earnest concern which he had for the Believers in Colosse, those nearby in Laodicea, and all those he had not met (2 Corinthians 11:28).  Why? These saints, in Christ, were being exposed to heretical teachings from Judaizing Christians and Pagan philosophies.  So then, in verse 2:1 Paul used the word “conflict” to mean, and I’m paraphrasing,  anxious care, the mental conflict, the earnest concern which he had in their behalf, in view of the dangers to which they were exposed from Judaizing Christians and Pagan philosophy.  

I reiterate the great conflict Paul speaks of was not with himself or within himself but with those who rejected the preaching of the mystery, stood in opposition to the truth, and persecuted him for preaching it.  The bottom line is Paul wanted the Colossians,  and others, to know he is presently engaged in a struggle for them all; and it’s no little struggle.  He's imprisoned in Rome and awaiting trial before the Roman Emperor Nero.  His very life is on the line.  So out of that great conflict comes this much needed letter to the Colossians.  These folks and others in that region were benefitting from his ministry despite the persecution and trials Paul was suffering.  

Verse 2:1b: 

“…and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face (in the Greek language this means to be personally acquainted with someone) in the flesh; Paul had a great concern for every church and every member of Body of Christ, but his remark here specifically references all those in the neighborhood of the church at Colosse.  However, as we read on we note this great concern included the Believers at Laodicea and all others in the region, even though Paul was not personally acquainted with them.  For the sake of every Believer in and about Colosse and that the truth of the gospel might continue with them (untainted) Paul speaks of this great conflict he had for them. 

Verse 2:2a:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love,”

It would be a wonderful thing indeed to see all the Christian churches, all those who profess the name of Christ and look to Him alone for salvation; wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to see them all comforted (encouraged) and knit together in love?  As wonderful as that might be, that is not enough.  Paul goes on to pray these Believer’s might be built up in the truth of God re: “the revelation of the mystery” and “the full assurance of understanding:”

and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” (2:2b). 

Paul labored, striving, and endured great conflict so the Colossians and all those who had not yet seen his face in the flesh might be comforted, i.e. encouraged and built up in the truth of the mystery, having, “the full assurance of understanding.” 

How can Believer’s experience “the full assurance of understanding?” To attain “the full assurance of understanding(in the dispensation of grace) God does not ask us to do something, He asked us to understand something.   What’s more, God does not leave us wondering about what it is we must understand, for Paul goes on to talk about, “the (knowledge) acknowledgement of the mystery” (2:2). 

Here Paul specifically directed the reader’s attention to full  understanding or “the acknowledgement” of  the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  Said differently, and I’m paraphrasing, “the full, or thorough knowledge of the mystery of God’s grace.”  Once again, Paul emphasizes the sufficiency of Christ, the distinctiveness of his ministry, and his gospel:  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,” (Ephesians 3:1-3).   

This passage of Scripture deals with the all sufficiency of the finished work of Christ: namely, what it has done for the Believer, what it makes of him or her; how it reconciles them to God in one body; and baptizes them, by the Spirit of God, into Christ Jesus making every true Believer a member of His Body; and how God has given us a position in the heavenlies in Christ, forever, along with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.  (See Ephesians 1:1-14)

Now perhaps you are beginning to understand why Paul endured such great conflict, suffering, laboring and striving for the Colossians (and every member of the Body of Christ); it was that they might know this great mystery of God which is Christ, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3).

Some of you might know something about the gas shortage of the 1970’s.  Many people believe there was no shortage of oil or oil refineries to produce said gasoline.  What they believe is the interrupted flow of oil and gasoline was man-made meant to drive up prices on these commodities.  While we do not know if this is true or sheer speculation, we do know if you’re suffering from a shortage of “assurance,” it’s a man-made shortage, caused by men (perhaps well-meaning men) who taught you God’s Word without using right division of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15).  But I trust the information that’s provided here will encourage (comfort) you and help you grow in grace, and in the “understanding” of the Word of God, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, “to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God…” 


The mystery centers in Christ and is God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation for all through the Person and work of His beloved Son.  We understand when we have a thorough knowledge of Christ, and the mystery, we have everything necessary for life and godliness.  We do not need to search for knowledge or truth elsewhere.   A few lessons back we learned unless knowledge affects the Believer’s way of living, it’s worthless.  But the more knowledge you gain of Christ, and put to work in your life, the more like Him you’ll become.   It’s been said, we are what we eat, physically.  Paul wants the Colossians to know they are what they believe, spiritually.  Where your heart goes you mind soon follows.  So what you read and what you listen to matters.  The idea here is Paul wants the Colossians to be confident (steadfast) and rest in the truth of God’s Word. 

Knowing the truth about Christ does something else for the Believer.  That knowledge of truth about Christ and the mystery brings full assurance and peace, i.e., rest.  

Verse 2:3.

In whom (Christ Jesus) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

The overall focus of Colossians is all is Christ and everything is in Christ.  Christ is the One: "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  I’m sure most of you know a thesaurus is a treasury of words stored up to compare with one another. God begins to give a catalogue of treasures at salvation, and they continue throughout the Believer’s experience until and including their death.  The entire plan of God revolves around the Person and work of Jesus Christ.  When we have a thorough knowledge of Christ, we have everything we need, because all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Him.  All means all and Paul is emphasizing the fact this is without exception.  So, Paul’s saying, and I’m paraphrasing, "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, without exception, are hid in Him."  

Paul wants the Colossian Church to acquire full knowledge re: what God has said concerning the age-old secret known as the mystery.  The true Believer is never done with this.  Why?  It’s impossible to exhaust the knowledge of God.  So this begs the questions do you have a full knowledge of the Scriptures concerning the Person and work of Christ Jesus in this dispensation, and if so, are you able to recognize false teaching when you hear it or see it?

Those who acknowledge the mystery Paul mentioned in (2:2) ought to know and understand God has an earthly people (Israel) and a heavenly people (the Body of Christ). 

God the Father kept the secret of the mystery for about 4000 years (Proverbs 25:2) in the “unsearchable” heart of the King of kings, “the heaven for height, and the earth for depth” (25:3).  Thus Paul speaks of “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” and declares “how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33). 

In Romans 11:25 Paul said he wants the church at Rome to understand the mystery of Israel’s blindness and how God’s plan to rule His earthly people would undergo a postponement that has now lasted 2,000 years.  But now, when he speaks of the mystery in Ephesians 3, he prays that the saints in Ephesus might understand the “depth and height” of it (3:18).  That is, he is praying they might also understand God has a plan to rule His heavenly people, the Body of Christ (3:1-17), in “the heaven for height.” Thus, in God’s plan to rule His people Israel on earth we find some of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and in His plan to rule His heavenly people, the Body of Christ, in the heavens, we also find some of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, but unless we acknowledge both as true, and rightly divide the Scriptures, we do not understand “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that are hid in Him.   

The very thing Paul suffered to preach and preserve, i.e., “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27) which includes “the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25) is the very thing the modern churches have diluted and polluted.  I’m saying if you attend the church services of the Southern Baptists, the Pentecostals, and the Seventh Day Adventists on the same day, in no particular order, you are bound to hear three different interpretations of God’s Word.  Ergo, far too many Christians are receiving the polluted and water-downed version of the Bible, therefore, they do not  have full knowledge of Christ, “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Verses 2:4-5.

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile (deceive) you with enticing words.  For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Paul’s defense of and the preaching of the gospel of grace brought persecution and suffering to his life.  Bear in mind Satan knows Jesus and Paul and his gospel for that matter (Acts 19:15; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4) and he hates all three.  The devil means to distort and confuse the message of the mystery and based on what I’m hearing and seeing, he is experiencing much success.  But when the truth of God is preached unaltered and with clarity Satan is not a happy camper… 

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words” (2:4).

At the risk of sounding forthright, sound teaching originates with God and false teaching originates with men.  If you’re not aware of what the Bible is telling you in Romans thru Philemon, it’s not the fault of God.  This is on you my friends.  Paul pleaded with the Corinthian and Ephesian Believers, and elsewhere, not to continue as babes in Christ, but to grow up, spiritually, to become men and women of God; people He can use for His own glory and for the good of others.  God has always used men and women to accomplish His purposes.  He could use angels, but instead has chosen to use Believers as His servants.  In fact, one of the reasons God saved us is for the purpose of serving Him (Romans 12:1-2).  Paul revealed the following truth to the saints at Ephesus, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (2:10).  

Horses were created to be ridden, cars were created to be driven, and Believers  were created to serve their Saviour.  If you’re saved, this is the mindset you are to put on daily for Paul wrote: “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who…made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:5-10).   Every Believer needs to cultivate the attitude and practice of being a servant of the Lord, i.e., we all need to be ministry-minded (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

I consider it strange that many Christians are so naïve, for the Scriptures speak of religious people who, “by good words, and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18b).  In 2 Corinthians 11:13 they read of “false apostles (prophets), deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”  In Galatians 2:4, our apostle Paul writes of “false brethren,” “unawares brought in, who came in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.”  In Ephesians 4:14 Paul pleads, “…we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness (same word is used to describe Satan’s character in Genesis 3:1), whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Then in Ephesians 5:6, Paul speaks of those who would “deceive you with vain words,” and so on it goes, but I think you are getting the idea.   False teaching is alive and well in the churches and Satan is pleased. 

Human nature does not change.  It is still fallen and bad, sometimes, very bad, which is why it requires regeneration: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:4-5; Ephesians 4:21-24).

That’s why we need to be saved by the finished work of Christ Jesus.  And let us not be so naïve as to think that just because a man in his Sunday best stands in the pulpit, he must be preaching the truths of God.  This might not be the case, and based on my own personal experience, it’s rarely the case. 

(To be continued)

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Colossians 1:26-29 (L 10)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                    Published: February 21, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************
Welcome to HBS.

Last week we looked at more than a few things, namely, Paul’s apostleship by divine appointment in the Dispensation of Grace, his ministry to the Church in accordance with God’s message of reconciliation to all His enemies through Christ Jesus’ finished work, and the preaching of the revelation of the mystery to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (1:21-23).

In verse 1:24 Paul said he rejoiced “in his sufferings for you (Colossians), and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Nothing, not even, suffering could steal Paul’s joy.  The other thing is Paul is not implying Christ’s redemptive work is incomplete; Christ’s sufferings have ended; He’s in glory!  What’s left behind is the afflictions and sufferings Paul experienced because of the cause of Christ.  Most Christian are ashamed of Paul and the mystery, which is the testimony of the Lord for which he suffers.  Only those who suffer for proclaiming the mystery are the partakers of the afflictions of the gospel mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:8; for in the following verse (1:9) we are told it refers to that purpose of God which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

In verse 1:25 we learned Paul had been made a minister (servant) to the Church,  according to the dispensation (administration) of God.”  He didn’t wake up one morning saying, “I’ think I’ll be  an apostle of God for the Gentile’s sake…”  He was made a servant of God and the sole preacher of the mystery by the risen Lord, “to fulfill the word of God;”  Here Paul means to say he’s preaching the gospel of grace faithfully everywhere the Spirit of God takes him.  We learned the term “fulfill” means “fully preached” and this is how Paul used the term in Romans 15:19: “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached all the counsel of God pertaining to the gospel of Christ.” In other words, Paul didn’t add anything and he didn’t take anything away from the gospel of grace.  He dispensed it to the Body of Christ just as he received it from the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 1:25-26.

The Prophesied and Unprophesied Kingdoms

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

I included verse 1:25 because it will help us understand Paul’s thoughtful statement.  Here, again, we find him referring to the Word of God as a “mystery.”  The word translated “mystery” in Koine Greek is musterion; Strong’s Greek #3466 (pronounced moos-tay’-ree-on), and it means a secret or mystery; a hidden thing.  Please understand Paul is not suggesting that God Himself is mysterious, far from it!  William Edwy Vine (1873-1949), commonly known as W.E. Vine, was an English Biblical scholar, theologian, and writer, most famous for Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; and he had this to say about the mystery of which Paul writes:

In the New Testament it denotes not the mysterious...but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by Divine revelation and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God and to those only who are illuminated by His Spirit.  In the ordinary sense, a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed.” 

The word “mystery” appears in both the O.T. and in the N.T. and must be understood as it is used in the context.  The majority of the Scriptures are concerned with the prophesied kingdom of God, also called the kingdom of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel.  This stands to reason since Matthew’s gospel presents Jesus as Israel’s King, their long awaited Messiah.  Prophecy and its fulfillment under the Messiah have primary reference to God’s sovereignly-chosen people, Israel.  The specific kingdom Paul referred to as the “Kingdom of His dear Son,” (Colossians 1:13) was not prophesied.  God’s eternal purpose to save Gentiles in a joint body along with Jews was “hidden in God” as a secret until it was fulfilled.  This mystery was revealed thereafter by the glorified Christ to our apostle Paul (See Romans through Philemon).

There is at least one phase of the kingdom of God which is equivalent to the kingdom of Heaven.  This has reference to the prophetic kingdom about which Jesus of Nazareth and His apostles preached while He was with them on earth, and which they preached during the early Acts period.  He was proclaimed to be Israel’s Messiah and King, the heir promised to David (2 Samuel 7:16), and the Son promised to Mary (Luke 1:31-33).  He was “the Christ,” concerning whom the prophets spoke (Isaiah 9:7 and chapter 53).

The term “kingdom of heaven” is used more than 30 times in the Gospel of Matthew, and the term “kingdom of God” is referenced more than 70 other times.  At times these refer to the same kingdom and at other times they are different.  This leads to the conclusion that the designation “kingdom of God” is a universal term.  It includes the kingdom of heaven and all other aspects of God’s sovereign jurisdiction over His creation, that is, animal, vegetable, mineral, life, matter, energy, light or time.  In these cases, the context often reveals a more specific designation.  There are many aspects and phases of “the kingdom.”  Thus, we learn no single definition is adequate for all these broad terms.  God had a theocratic kingdom in the past.  His prophesied Messianic Kingdom was “at hand,” that is, viable when Christ Jesus was on earth.  God’s Prophetic Program is currently on hold, but God’s timeclock meant for Israel will resume, in accordance with prophecy, and after the Tribulation Christ’s Messianic Kingdom will be established in “the millennium.”  The Bible does not tell us what to expect after Christ’s 1,000 year reign on earth but I expect His Kingdom will  continue on into eternity and never stop growing (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33).  

Christ’ kingdom, foretold in Old Testament prophecies, was actively proclaimed as “at hand and partially fulfilled during the earthly presence of Jesus of Nazareth.  It will be fulfilled completely in the future.  God’s Kingdom of today is not found in the O.T. Scriptures (Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:13), though its salvation aspect was anticipated by types, patterns, and symbolic ordinances.  The mystery aspect was progressively revealed after Calvary and fits into the present unprophesied interval during which “blindness in part is happened to Israel,” until the “fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25).  The rest of these prophecies will then be fulfilled:  

That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times, He might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him” (Ephesians 1:10). 

Summing up, there are two aspects of God’s Kingdom in the Scriptures, one prophesied and one unprophesied.  All aspects of Christ’s Kingdom are according to God’s eternal purpose in Christ in accordance with “the revealed will of God” (Ephesians 2:7, 3:10-11).

Just so we’re all on the same page I reiterate when Paul used the term “the mysteryit most often described the revelation of the mystery, i.e., the gospel of God’s Grace:

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” (Romans 16:25, 2:16).     


The LORD GOD laid the groundwork for the creation of the Jewish race with His call of Abram of UR from the Chaldees (Genesis 11:27 – 12:1-5).  Jacob and his twelve sons moved to Egypt, where they were enslaved 400 years (Genesis 15:13; Acts 7:6), and during that time they multiplied as a people.  They became a nation, under the LORD God, when He redeemed them and brought them out of Egypt.  Under Moses divine authority the LORD gave them the ceremonial, the civil, and the moral law which is found in the first five books of the O.T. (the Pentateuch) and summed up in the Mosaic Law.  All God’s dealings with mankind were mediated through Israel from Abraham to Paul.  Based upon the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s blessings to Gentiles were to come through the nation of Israel.  And all blessings to Israel were to come through the promised Messiah.  But here’s the thing, how could God bless the Gentile nations when the channel of blessing, Israel, had rejected their Source of blessing?  The Old Testament had no answer to this question.  God had revealed no plan to bless Gentiles apart from Israel who were to become a nation of priests acting as go-betweens (See Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6; 1 Peter 2:9).  When God saved and commissioned Saul/Paul He began a new program or administration.  With this program, He could bless (save) Gentiles despite Israel’s rejection of their Messiah and the Spirit led ministry of the twelve.  With Paul’s commission, God created the Church, the Body of Christ, and brought in a new age, i.e., the Church age.  The Church would not operate under the Mosaic Law as Israel had but under God’s grace (Romans 6:14).  A radical change to say the least, which most Israelites, then and now, reject outright (Romans 9:30-33). 

So then, Paul stands at the headwaters of this new program, as it were, and as such he became the first sinner saved by grace (alone) and the first member of the Body of Christ, a.k.a. the Church and is the “pattern to them which should hearafter believe on him to life everlasting:”

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (prominent).  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).  

Saul of Tarsus, who later became known by his Roman name Paul the apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) had one of the most remarkable lives in church history.  God transformed him from being Jesus of Nazareth’s chief enemy to his most zealous servant and evangelist for the cause of Christ.  But of much greater significance than Paul’s personal transformation was God’s change in His divine program.  God revealed truths to Paul that He had kept secret.  Jesus, during his three-year ministry on earth, never revealed these teachings and the twelve knew nothing of them, even after Christ’s resurrection.  One of the significant theological errors by Christendom is its failure to understand Paul’s unique apostleship.  Because of this, vast theological confusion and error exist within the Church to this very day.  Here we must take into account the apostle Peter’s declaration in circa 68 AD which is found in 2 Peter 3:14-16.  This is where said he does not understand some of Paul’s teachings:  

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:14-16; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

Even though Peter didn’t understand everything Paul taught, it’s rather obvious he attempted to understand them.  What’s more, we note he identified all of Paul’s epistles as Scripture, i.e., the very Word of God.  The vast majority of Christian churches are doing neither.  They won’t recognize Paul’s apostleship, his ministry, or his gospel.  But according to Paul declaration in Romans 2:16, it is the gospel (good news) God will use to judge the secrets of men: “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

Verses 27-29.   

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

Whether or not Christians understand the great church doctrine of “the mystery,” one thing is crystal clear “the mystery” is the “meat” Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:2 by which the Believer is stablished in “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25).

And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony (the mystery) of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).


Paul wrote about the mystery in his letter to the Ephesians.  In Ephesians 4:11-14 we read in part, “God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (to the Church) – “for the perfecting (spiritual growth) of the saints…” “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

In Colossians 1:27-28, Paul speaks of “this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  He goes on to say, “Whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect (spiritually mature) in Christ Jesus:

Here we note that the long hidden purpose of God, called “the mystery” in 1:27 centers wholly in Christ.  In other words, All is Christ!  Verse 1:27, “this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory,” he says, as noted above, “Whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

It is no small thing or coincidence that the writings of Paul which deal with “the mystery “are filled with such expressions as, “in Christ,” “in Him,” “in whom,” “with Christ,” and “by Christ.” All is Christ!  This is significant because today in the dispensation of Grace you are counted as being either “complete in Christ,” (Colossians 2:10) or completely outside of Christ.  

Picture Paul, the apostle of God’s Grace, “warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom” so “that we might present every man perfect in Christ.”  See him “labour, striving according to God’s working in him.”  What was he striving against? “Great conflict” which he has for the Colossians and every man that he might presentevery man perfect (full grown) in Christ Jesus” (1:28); “…that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” (Colossians 2:2). 

Most Christians are afraid of conflict.  Although Paul talks about “the mystery” often, they don’t talk about it with others because it invites conflict.  They are, therefore, ashamed of Paul and his gospel and fail to understand every Believer is called to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and sometimes a soldier must fight:

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ(2 Timothy 2:1-3).  

When Paul speaks of conflict he does not mean conflict of the mind, as though he had doubts about the importance of his message or his ministry; he meant conflict with others.  Paul had to battle with religious zealots and their traditions so “that their hearts might be knit together;” and we do well to acknowledge there are battles to be fought before the divided Christian church of today can experience “unity of the Spirit” and “the unity of the faith.

What the majority of people fail to understand is Satan’s involvement in the division of the Christian church, back in Paul’s day, and continuing to this very day.  The devil would keep all Christians like the Corinthian babes; he would lull us into complacency, he would make us “dull of hearing” and “slow of heart to believe,” but “we are not ignorant of his devices,” or at least we should not be.  The wise Believer understands Satan will never allow the Church to experience “unity of the faith” without a fight.

Therefore, if conflict must be, then it must be, because “the mystery” or “the testimony of God” must be heard for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). 

Even though Paul was placed under house arrest in Rome for preaching the testimony of God concerning Christ, he encouraged the Philippian assembly with the following:

For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same (what) conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me” (Philippians 1:29-30).

Instead of trying to escape conflict, let’s understand conflictin this present evil age” is to be expected.  If you’re sharing the gospel of grace with others, then it goes with the territory, so to speak.  All those who are faint of heart (timid) should carefully and prayerfully read Ephesians 6:18-20 and the Scripture passage below:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:7-12).


In closing let us take note of a significant phrase in this portion of Colossians: “The full assurance of understanding” (Colossians 2:2).  It’s a wonderful thing indeed to have the “full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22); the “full assurance of hope” (Hebrews 6:11); and the “full assurance of understanding” (Colossians 2:2).

This goes with the acknowledgement (full knowledge) of “the mystery.”  When Believers are stablished in this truth they are no longer considered as “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.”  They have an intelligent grasp of “(God’s) own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (eternity past)” – 2 Timothy 1:9.  They have the “full assurance of faith,” which comes with spiritual maturity:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are had all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

The mystery among the Gentiles is Christ.  The mystery of God is Christ.  It is not the world being blessed through the nation of Israel, Abraham’s seed; but the world being blessed through Christ, through Israel’s blindness and hard heartedness.  It is not the message of Acts 2:36-39 and Acts 3:18-26, but the message of Romans 11:25-32 and Ephesians 2:16.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved





















  




















Friday, February 14, 2020

Colosssians 1:25 (L 09)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                    Published February 14, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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Welcome to HBS.

Let’s begin by refreshing our memory.

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” (1:23-24)

Here Paul challenged the Colossians saying, “…be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which (they) have heard…”  (Romans 10:17).  The gospel the Colossians had heard from Epaphras is the very same gospel Paul preached “to every creature which is under heaven;” not one thing was added and he didn’t take anything away from it (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  If some of the Colossians were leaving the faith, seemingly for something better, then they weren’t genuinely saved in the first place.

Paul goes on to explain he had been made a minister of the mystery of God’s Grace by the risen Lord Himself and entrusted with the message of God’s reconciliation for all His enemies (Romans 5:8-9).  Thus, once again, Paul reinforced his teaching that salvation is the work of God (alone) through Christ Jesus’ finished work of the cross.

When Paul wrote, “(I) now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake” he’s not implying Christ redemptive work is incomplete.  Paul means to say he suffered greatly for the cause of Christ, that is, God’s purposes and plan for the Church in this dispensation.  Therefore, it’s not beyond the ordinary for the Believer who is following Paul’s lead to suffer persecution in one form or another.  These sufferings for the cause of Christ both then and now “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ…” (1:24);  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29).

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit want every member of the Body of Christ to be of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, i.e., spiritually well-balanced (2 Timothy 1:7).  In this day of religious confusion, sectarianism, and satanic delusions many Christians are being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:13-14).  In Ephesians 4 the Church is instructed to strive for and keep the unity of the Spirit recognizing that great seven-fold unity recorded in Ephesians 4:3-7.  Every Christian should know how to stand fast according to Galatians 5:1-4; and every Christian should be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58).  Moreover every Christian should earnestly endeavor to be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth in obedience to 2 Timothy 2:15.  All of this might be covered by the Christian’s desire and determination to be “established.”  If they are not “established,” it is certainly no fault of God.  It is due somewhat by neglecting to obey Ephesians 1:16-18, 6:19-20, and Colossians 4:3-4, and praying to the Father for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to understand God’s Word, and for open doors and open mouths to proclaim His Word boldly.  It is this particular truth that is referred to in Romans 16:25:  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,”



What does it mean to be “stablished” by that preaching of Jesus Christ which is according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began?  Romans 16:25 should be read in connection with Ephesians 1:4-5, 1:11, 3:1-4, 9-11, and Colossians 1:23-27.  In Romans 16:25 there is more than the implication that there is in the Bible the preaching of Jesus Christ, which was not kept secret since the world began; and therefore, not according to the revelation of the mystery.  Every Believer in Christ is expected to be a faithful steward (minister) of the mysteries of God; and with that, of course, understanding the difference between the preaching of Jesus Christ, which was in fulfillment of some prophecy found between the pages of Genesis 1 and the last chapter of Malachi, and the preaching of Jesus Christ crucified, which none of those prophets spoke of, because this truth was hidden in God before the world began (Ephesians 3:9).  But now it has been revealed to and through our apostle Paul and by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:5), so it should not be a secret with any Christian today.

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That intro serves to take us to Colossians 1:25, so open your Bibles to that mark and I’ll meet y’all there.

Whereof I am made a minister (of the cause of Christ), according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

No matter how much Paul suffered for the cause of Christ he never lost his joy (1:24).  Think about that.  If a Christian loses their joy, it's not because of their circumstances so much as it is their relationship with Christ is not as it should be they probably are notstablished” (settled in a state of permanence) in the faith (1:23). 

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you (the Church), to fulfill the word of God;” (1:25).

Whereof” points backward to verses 1:23-24.  Paul was made a minister to preach the revelation of the mystery to all the then known world and to care for “the church:”

“Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches  (2 Corinthians 11:28).

“…according to the dispensation of God…although some people deem the word dispensation as insignificant, if not evil, and more than a few Bible translations have removed the word from the text, you will find the term in the KJV Bible.  The word translated dispensation in the KJV Bible conveys the meaning of stewardship or administration.  A steward is one who manages or oversees the affairs of another.  Dispensation therefore means to deal out or dispense, to distribute or administrate.  A dispensation then is the dispensing, or administrating, of a particular program within God’s management program by which mankind is tested and through which access to God’s mercy and grace is offered. 

God does not change because His character and essence are eternal.  The principles or precepts by which He acts in relation to mankind are as unchanging as He is.  As He is righteous, holy, just, merciful, gracious, and loving, He always deals with mankind in love, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, and righteousness because this is the very essence of the attributes of God.  However, even a casual reader of the Scriptures can plainly see God does not always deal with mankind in the same specific way.  For example, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were given one requirement (a test) of obedience.  They were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Mankind fell into sin when the man disobeyed and ate of the forbidden tree.  No longer innocents, Adam and Eve were expelled from God’s Garden and the dispensation changed (Genesis 3).  Some 2500 years later God gave His written Law to the nation of Israel through Moses.  This was a new dispensation, and it was “dispensed” to Moses to give to the people.  He then became the LORD’s steward or administrator of God’s dispensation of Law.   

Most large corporations or businesses have a “Mission Statement.”  In brief, a “Mission Statement” is a brief description of a company’s or organization’s fundamental purpose.  It answers the question, “Why does our business exist?”  The information in that Mission Statement then becomes the “marching orders,” so to speak, for each employee in that organization.  Our apostle Paul also had a mission statement.  The preaching of God’s message of reconciliation, in accordance with the revelation of the mystery was both the mission and mandate for Paul's life:


To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:27-29). 

Please turn with me in your Bible to Ephesians 3:1-13 where Paul speaks of the divine ministry (mission) God entrusted to him:

 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”

In verses 3:2-4 Paul speaks of the revelation of the mystery, so I now ask, “If you’re a Believer, what does the mystery mean to you?”  To most Christians the mystery is just that, a mystery.  They couldn’t share it or defend it if their lives depended on it.  Some folks think the mystery has something to do with the ”mysteries” of the kingdom found in Matthew 13.  But this interpretation doesn’t take into account the two separate dispensations of God, that is, one for the nation of Israel under the law, and the one in which we live today known as the Dispensation of Grace.  In short, the mystery is a divine program which introduces us to the heavenly ministry of Christ (Ephesians 1:19-23) and not His earthly ministry to the Jews (Romans 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:16).  The mystery reveals God’s plan and purposes for the Church, a.k.a. the Body of Christ, and it is God’s will for every saint in Christ to have a knowledge of His will (See Ephesians 1:9; Colossians 1:9-10, 25-26).

How that by revelation he (the risen and glorified Lord) made known unto me the mystery;” (Ephesians 3:3). 

Here we note the mystery was committed to Saul/Paul.  God is Sovereign, therefore, it’s His prerogative to withhold information from mankind until He’s chooses to reveal it (Deuteronomy 29:29), but once it’s revealed God expects us to believe it and obey it.  Since this message had been hidden in God before the foundations of the earth, it necessitated a direct revelation from Him.  This revelation from the risen Lord was revealed to Saul/Paul after their face-to-face encounter on the road to Damascus.  This was the first of many revelations over a thirty year period of time that had to do with the doctrines of grace.  Thus, we learn the mystery is found exclusively in Paul’s writings.  Until the church submits itself to this indisputable fact, it will remain “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every word of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).  


The two great revelators of the Bible are Moses in the O.T. and our Apostle Paul in the N.T.  God dispensed the law to Moses; therefore, he was the LORD’s administrator or spokesperson under that economy (Deuteronomy 4:1-2).  Since Moses was God’s appointed deliverer, to disobey the commands of Moses was to disobey the very Word of the LORD God.  

In today’s economy, Paul was appointed the apostle to the Gentiles by the Lord and received the revelation of the mystery from Him directly (Galatians 1:11-20).  I’ve never heard anyone complain about people placing too much emphasis on Moses, but I  

wish I had a nickel for every time a churched individual told me I place too much emphasis on Paul.  This is when I direct them and all those with the same mindset to 1 Corinthians 14:37-38, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

Many Christians believe when Christ ascended to heaven, He stopped speaking.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Paul said the things he wrote to the Corinthians, and to the Body of Christ as a whole, were “the commandments of the Lord.  Similarly, in his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul said, “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:2). 

After Christ’s ascension, Israel continued in her rebellion against God by rejecting the Holy Spirit’s ministry through the twelve.  Because of their unbelief God has set Israel aside temporarily (Romans 11).  God then called and appointed Saul of Tarsus as His apostle to the Gentiles and gave Him a unique ministry and message meant for the Gentile nations, that before had been a secret (Acts 9).   From heaven the glorified Christ gave to the apostle Paul a new revelation concerning His heavenly ministry to the Church, a.k.a. the Body of Christ.  To Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13), was given the commandments of Christ for the Body of Christ today.  Therefore, in Paul’s writings, we have the revealed will of God for our lives in the dispensation of the grace of God.  In Paul’s letters, we find the doctrines of grace that the Church is built upon, is to live by, and is to share with the world.  I point out, again, Paul’s words revealed to Him by Christ, are referred to as “commandments.”  This is not a take-it-or-leave-it word.  When a commandment is given by God to man, He expects us to conform our will to His will and obey.  

So then, Paul is God’s divinely appointed apostle through whom He has made known the riches of His Grace.  To reject Paul’s apostolic authority and his ministry is tantamount to rejecting the heavenly ministry of the Lord.  Little wonder then Paul declared, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Verse 1:25.

Whereof I am made a minister (of the cause of Christ), according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you (the Church), to fulfil the word of God;

One of the most wonderful truths in the N.T. is that which concerns the relationship between Christ and the Church of this dispensation which is known as “His Body.”  Many Christians today are interested in the establishment of Christ’s earthly kingdom and “hoping” they will be allowed in rather than the completion of “His Body” which Christ shed His blood for.  This is because they have not been instructed in Pauline truth, i.e., the truth concerning the Church of God in the dispensation of grace:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

Per the Scriptures, God is not establishing Christ’s kingdom on the earth today.  The King and His kingdom were rejected more than 1900 years ago and that program is on hold presently.  Christ is now seated at the Father’s right hand awaiting His return to the earth at His second coming (Psalm 110:1).  When you read Paul’s writings you’ll find him speaking of the Church being translated “into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13); and “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), therefore, the Church is not looking for an earthly King and kingdom they’re looking for “the redemption of their bodies” at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18):

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, awaiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23).

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (at the Rapture);” (Titus 2:11-13).

Paul said, “I am made a minister…” – here the word minister means:  a chief servant; hence, an agent appointed to transact or manage business under the authority of another.  Back in Paul’s day a minister was entrusted with the oversight or care of a household.  The first thing that comes to my mind is Joseph in the O.T.  After he was sold into slavery by his brothers he eventually wound up in Potiphar’s house.  Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household, which meant Joseph had a stewardship (Genesis 39).  So then, Paul’s saying he had been entrusted with an important position in the household of God; he had been made a minister, or a steward, and as such he was responsible to carry out the will of the Father re: the ministry of reconciliation.  


Next on the things to do is look at Paul’s statement at the end of verse 1:25 where he said, “to fulfill the word of God.”  He had been made a minister to faithfully proclaim the word of God in its entirety.  Nowhere does he say he was faithful to bring mass numbers into the church.  Let’s dig deeper into this topic so as to understand what Paul meant with respect to his faithful service to the Lord.  Please turn to Acts 20 starting at verse 22.  This is where Paul met with the elders from Ephesus and tells them his future is uncertain, then in verse 1:23 he goes on to say God the Spirit made it clear to him that sufferings lie ahead:  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” 

This didn’t deter Paul from his ministry for in 1:24 he said:  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

This is the ministry the Lord had entrusted to Paul and nothing will keep him from preaching “the gospel of the grace of God” not even afflictions and bonds.  All that matters is that he faithfully “fulfills the word of God:  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).

Again, please note he did not say, “Look at all the people I brought into the church at Ephesus.”  The thing that showed Paul’s faithfulness to the Lord is his declaration that he “declared unto them all the counsel of God.”  Not too many people today can make that claim.  Case in point: I was actively involved in the Children’s Ministry at more than a few churches and every summer we held Vacation Bible School.  After that event ran its course, without fail, the pastor gave the congregation a brief summary starting with the number of children that gave themselves to the Lord and the church applauded.  But here’s the thing, I was teaching these very same children in Sunday school and believe you me they had little to no idea what just occurred or what it meant.  Therefore, I believe God is more interested in “quality” than He is in “quantity.”  He want’s “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but the sad fact is a great many churches are not proclaiming all the counsel of God” concerning the revelation of the mystery.  Instead, what I learned is they believe, preach, and teach the earthly ministry of Christ and not Pauline doctrines in accordance with God’s will. 

Please consider the following Matthew wrote 1 book, Mark wrote 1 book, Luke wrote 2 books (Luke and Acts), John wrote 5 books, Peter wrote 2 books, James and Jude wrote 1 book each.  Our apostle Paul wrote 13 books (2/3rds of the N.T.) that’s more than just significant folks.

Getting back to verse 1:25 and Paul’s statement, “to fulfill the word of God,” Paul means to say he’s preaching the gospel of grace of God faithfully everywhere the Spirit of God takes him.  The term “fulfill” means “fully preached” and this is how Paul used it in Romans 15:19: “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached (what) all the counsel of God pertaining to the gospel of Christ.

The whole counsel of God, pertaining to the mysteries of God’s grace, was fully preached… to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (1:23b) nothing had been added and nothing was taken away from it.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved